On 18 July 2012, Saatchi launched the world’s largest online exhibition—not a hard claim to make given that most web-based art shows are greeted with little more than raised eyebrows. Still, “100 Curators 100 Days” may very well reshape the perception that viewing art on a computer doesn’t achieve the personal relationship between viewer and artwork offered by a brick-and-mortar museum or gallery.
We applaud the ambition of Rebecca Wilson, director of the Saatchi Gallery in London and board member of Saatchi Online, who has rounded up an impressive group of curators from the world’s leading arts institutions, including MoMA, LACMA, Palais de Tokyo, Kunsthalle Vienna, the Hirshhorn Museum, Pace/MacGill Gallery and Manifesta8, to name only a few. Each curator was asked to select 10 artists from the more than 60,000 currently exhibited on Saatchi Online. While their curatorial “stamp of approval” will of course lead to more exposure, which means higher selling prices and therefore a more valuable collection for Saatchi, it also positions an opportunity to lift talented young artists out from under the weight of their 60,000 brethren—a significant accomplishment, if even just for 10 days.
One of the strongest collections on view at this point is curated by Bisi Silva, the founder and director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos. Before founding CCA in 2007, Silva was a curator of the Dakar Biennale in Senegal, and has since served as co-curator for the second Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art in Greece. In 2010 she was the Independent Curators International inaugural touring curator.
From Saatchi’s online collection, Silva pulled modestly priced works by artists, the majority of whom hail from Europe and the UK. The most arresting pieces are “Holz, Augustastrasse,” a photograph by Dusseldorf-based Andreas Fragel, and “PAWS,” a sculpture by the Brazilian artist Tatiana Blass. Fragel specializes in crisp landscapes taken in forgotten environments, like an overgrown basketball court, a factory loading dock or a muddy freeway underpass. Saatchi has about a dozen of Fragel’s photographs, but still hasn’t snapped up the real gems, which can be seen on Fragel’s website. Blass, on the other hand, works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, video and paper-based works. Her sculptural and installation work, however, remain the strongest, and “PAWS,” with its conceptual sophistication and play between drama and restraint, makes for a major standout.
Each day a new curator’s 10 selections are released. Watch the exhibition unfold every day for the remainder of “100 Curators 100 Days.”